Everyone has that favorite pair of shoes that they love. That perfect pair that fitted great and looked pretty good too!
But over a few months or years, depending on how often you are climbing, that perfect shoe can start to wear away. All those flags and lazy smears add up and your shoes can end up looking a bit worn.
Instead of throwing them away, you can get them resoled and repaired. In today’s throw away culture I think people are far too quick to get rid of items that they could reuse, recycle or repair and climbing shoes is one that can easily be repaired!
When going to repair climbing shoes you pretty much only have one option – you can go and get them repaired by a qualified shoemaker (I would highly recommend not trying this at home unless you are feeling super crafty.)
With a quick google search, you will be able to find your closest resoler. Getting a pair of shoes resoled tends to cost 1/3 to 1/4 of the price of a new pair, so it’s usually pretty economic.
Now that you have found a climbing shoe resoler, there is usually a couple of different options to choose from. The things to think about are what rubber and how thick?
When deciding what rubber to use, Stealth C4 and Vibram XS Edge are the most popular used by La Sportiva and Scarpa and most other big shoe brands.
So what’s the difference you might ask? Well, some rubbers tend to be stickier or more durable or both. If you are unsure what rubber is best for you it might be worth doing a bit of research into them. If you don’t have the time you can’t go wrong with Vibram edge or Stealth C4, as both are solid choices, there is a reason they are so popular.
Now, let’s talk thickness. If you go too thick you might not be able to feel those tiny holds and if you go too thin, then you will just be back to the resoler sooner rather than later.
It might be worth noting that the general standard is 4mm, however if you are a beginner or think you have clumsy footwork it might be best for you to get a 5mm sole.
So depending on where you go to, they will likely offer a 1/2 sole repair or a rand repair.
The 1/2 sole repair is just the front part of your shoe where your toes are, the idea is that this part tends to see the most action when climbing, so it needs the most tender loving care.
If you haven’t guessed by now, a rand repair is a full repair of your sole. What this entails is sowing up any holes getting rid of that old nasty rubber and putting some new (hopefully grippier) rubber on.
It’s worth noting that sometimes an extensive rand repair can cause some aggressive downturned shoes to lose their form. This is why it’s better to get your shoes to a resoler sooner rather than later, as there is a point of no return.
How many times you can get your shoes resoled and repaired is going to depend on how well you look after them. Most pairs will be able to get resoled 2-3 times, however I have seen pairs of shoes kept in good condition resoled up to 7-8 times.
So one way is to try and keep your shoes in a clean and good condition.
We have written a guide to help you with the cleaning here
However, some other good general tips are:
- Crisp and clean footwork – what I mean by this is placing your foot with precision on the holds instead throwing it at the hold and letting the shoe rub against the wall and guide you to the hold.
- Store your shoes correctly – ideally in a bag somewhere away from sunlight, shoes left outside due to the smell can become damaged by the elements or the sun.
- Try not to wash them – washing machines can deform the leather or cause it to deteriorate faster.
With these tips, you should be able to extend the life of your favorite pair and keep on climbing!